Thousands of tourists have been evacuated from Tunisia amid growing political unrest and violence in capital city Tunis.

The holidaymakers left the country following violent protests which saw violence escalate, leaving dozens dead following the ousting of Tunisia’s autocratic president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali this weekend after 23 years of rule.

In Tunis, the mina railway station was set alight and soldiers exchanged gunfire in front of the Interior Ministry.

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It has also been reported that more than 1,000 prisoners have broken free, while 42 prisoners have been killed during a fire at another jail.

Tourists returning from Tunisia have described violence on the streets, looting and chaos, while many tour operators have cancelled inbound flights to the country.

The situation has been described as the first Wikileaks revolution, as the whistle-blowing website reportedly contributed to the ousting of Ben Ali who has gone in to exile in Saudi Arabia.

The British Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to the North African country.